News Ministry of Environment urging British Columbians to be Bear Aware SHARE ON: Shannon Waters, staff Saturday, Aug. 27th, 2016 It’s been a bad month for BC bears. In the Revelstoke area alone, 9 bears have been destroyed in a little more than a week. The Ministry of the Environment is urging people to take responsibility and ensure that bears don’t have to die for the sake of public safety. It’s tricky time of year for our wild neighbours. “This is the active time of the year for bears,” says Dave Bakker with the Northern Bear Awareness Society. “With the waning berry crop that is slowly petering out right now, they’re going to turn their focus on to the other food sources that they remember or smell out.” Pick fruit and other tempting food sources as soon as they are ripe and properly secure other attractants, including bird feeders, garbage and compost. Cleaning your barbecue grill after use can help keep hungry bears from wandering into your yard. If a bear does visit, Bakker says keeping calm is key. “The first thing you do is put yourself in a safe place. Don’t try and confront the animal. Let it finish doing what it’s doing. Confrontations, trying to be aggressive with an animal like that while it’s feeding is never a good idea.” If the bear returns, exhibits aggressive behaviour or destroys property, you can contact The BC Conservation Office RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277. Bakker says the responsibility for avoiding conflict lies with us. “Our teachings in our education program always say, ‘Hey look – if you don’t want them, don’t invite them.’ You can avoid these situations by managing your attractants properly – harvesting your trees, hopefully all bird feeders are down and doing the best you can with your garbage.” If you don’t have a shed or garage to store your garbage in, Bakker recommends bear-proof containers. In a pinch, a ratchet strap over the lid will do. You can learn more about being Bear Smart on the Ministry of Environment’s website.